Hunt and Gather Details for Your Story

Course Overview

Hunt and Gather Details for Your Story
Seminar Snapshot
Time Estimate:
About an hour

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About Seminar Snapshots

A Seminar Snapshot features video highlights that capture the key learning of a seminar presentation.

Outstanding journalism begins with excellent reporting. The details you collect at the scene are the key to transporting your readers into a moment, an experience or an emotion.

To capture those details, you need to be a keen listener; you need to zoom into the simplest part of a complex story, be able to figure out the heart of the story and report for the senses. This presentation will teach you to gather the obvious and subtle details that will allow you to write the scenes that lead to powerful stories.

This presentation is part of a workshop that covers five important steps in the writing process: generating story ideas, collecting the facts and details, finding focus in your story, structuring your work and revising your writing.

The other presentations in this series are:

Generating Story Ideas: Seeing the Stories All Around You: Alexandra Zayas, general assignment reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, introduces you to proven techniques that will help you recognize and refine your best story ideas.

Finding the Heart of the Story: Tom Huang, Sunday and enterprise editor at The Dallas Morning News and adjunct faculty member of The Poynter Institute, presents essential writing techniques that produce compelling, sharply focused stories with strong underlying themes.

Planning and Drafting Your Story: Roy Peter Clark, writing instructor since 1979, vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, teaches you how to draft your story using a quick plan and outlining its most important parts.

Mastering the Craft of Revision: Chip Scanlan, reporting, writing and editing faculty affiliate at The Poynter Institute, offers revision techniques that will help you identify problems in your stories and make the changes, big and small, that will make your writing stand out.

Check out the Training Package to purchase the entire five-part series!

What Will I Learn:
  • Moving beyond talking heads to report for the senses
  • Finding moments that bring readers to the heart of the matter
  • Observing and entering subjects' lives
  • Transporting readers into a moment, an experience, an emotion
Who should take this course:

Reporters, editors, freelance writers and others who want to learn gather and incorporate powerful details into their writing.


Thomas French

Thomas French, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, teaches reporting and writing in newsrooms and at conferences around the world. After a long career as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), he teaches at Indiana University's journalism school and at The Poynter Institute as a Writing Fellow. He is the author of three nonfiction books, including Zoo Story, a New York Times bestseller on life and death inside Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.